It all started with a dolphin table.
In 1982, Atlanta socialite Helen Ballard Weeks opened her Buckhead condo to photographers from Metropolitan Home Magazine as part of their home decorating contest. She won. When the photos of Helen's home were published, 500 readers contacted the magazine asking where they could buy furnishings and other décor items like hers – especially the classically inspired dolphin table. A year later, Helen quit her job, sold her award-winning home and started Ballard Designs. The first catalog, a simple two-page black-and-white brochure, featured a replica of the iconic dolphin table on its cover. The catalog was an instant hit.
Fast-forward 25 years
Ballard Designs joined forces with Cornerstone Brands in 1997, publisher of some of the country's most popular home and apparel catalogs, including Frontgate, Garnet Hill, Grandin Road, Improvements, Smith+Noble, The Territory Ahead, and Travelsmith. Over the next eight years, Ballard grew nearly 10-fold and was acquired in 2005, along with its sister Cornerstone brands, by media mogul, Barry Diller's IAC/Interactive Corp. Diller's plan was to use IAC's growing stable of e-commerce sites and its popular television Home Shopping Network to leverage the power of the Cornerstone Brands.
Ballard goes 3-D
Two years later, Ballard went to the mall, opening its first retail store in Tampa's International Plaza. The interior was designed to capture the look and eclectic feel of European open-air market, allowing customers to experience our products first hand. Less than a year later, the company opened its second retail outlet in Jacksonville to enthusiastic crowds. In 2008, IAC/Interactive spun off Ballard and its other Cornerstone Brands under the HSN umbrella.
Staying fresh & focused
Today, our buyers travel the globe in search of inspiration, enabling us to create timeless, European-inspired home furnishings of exceptional quality and value for the design-oriented customer. The Ballard Designs brand continues to grow through expanding catalog circulation and its online presence as a trusted decorating resource. Our award-winning Style Studio, popular Facebook page and Twitter alerts keep us connected to an ever-growing community of Ballard fans. And beginning in 2010, Ballard is joining forces with noted interior designer, Suzanne Kasler, to create exciting new product lines to be sold exclusively through our catalog, website and retail stores. This collaboration marks the first time Ballard has partnered with an outside designer in its 26-year history. The results are already proving to be spectacular.